Core Faculty

Jan Achenbach

Walter P. Murphy and Distinguished McCormick School Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics, and Mechanical Engineering

2145 Sheridan Road

Catalysis 324

Evanston, IL 60208-3109

achenbach( at )


Ph.D. Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

M.Sc. Aeronautical Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands

Research Interests

Mechanics of solids; quantitative nondestructive evaluation and fracture mechanics In recent years, Professor Achenbach has developed methods for flaw detection and characterization by using contact transducers, imaging techniques, and laser-based ultrasonics. He has also developed methods for thin-layer characterization by acoustic microscopy. Work is both analytical and experimental in nature, with extensive cooperation with investigators from other universities and from industrial organizations on theoretical experimental projects. Work in fracture mechanics has been primarily on dynamic fracture. He also carries out research on structural acoustics and on the mechanical behavior of composite materials.

Significant Recognition

  • Theodore von Karman Medal, ASCE, 2010
  • Raymond D. Mindlin Medal, ASCE, 2009
  • 2005 U.S. National Medal of Science
  • SPIE-NDE Lifetime Achievement Award, 2005
  • ICCES Medal, International Conference on Computational & Experimental Engineering and Sciences, 2003
  • 2003 U.S. National Medal of Technology
  • William Prager Medal, SES, 2001
  • Timoshenko Medal, ASME, 1992
  • Fellow of: AAAS, SES, ASME, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Acoustical Society of America, American Academy of Mechanics, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
  • Member of National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering

In the Classroom

Professor Achenbach teaches courses in non-destructive evaluation, fracture mechanics and wave propagation in solids.

Selected Publications

    • (with M.Cohen and S.S.Kulkarni), Probabilistic Considerations are Essential to QNDE and SHM,Structural Health Monitoring, ed. by Fu-Kuo Chang, Vol. 1 pp.481-488, DEStech Publications,Inc, 2009.
    • (with S.S. Kulkarni), “Structural Health Monitoring and Damage Prognosis in Fatigue,”Structural Health Monitoring,7, pp. 37-49, 2008.
    • (with S.S. Kulkarni), “Optimization of inspection schedule for a surface-breaking crack subject to fatigue loading,”Probabilistic Engineering Mechanics,22, pp. 301-312, 2007.
    • (with G.Petculescu and S. Krishnaswamy), “Group delay measurements using modally selective Lamb wave transducers for detection and sizing of delaminations in composites”,Smart Materials and Structures,17,pp.1-9, 2007.
    • (with G. Petculescu), “Schedule Based NDT and Structural Health Monitoring of Safety Critical Composite Structures,” Materials Evaluation65, pp. 731-739, 2007.
    • “Application of the Reciprocity Theorem to Analyze Ultrasound Generated by High-Intensity Surface Heating of Elastic Bodies,”Journal of Thermal Stresses30, pp. 841-853, 2007.

Department of Mechanical Engineering

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